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 Refugees and migrants wait in a queue as the sun rises
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/T. Stravrakis

Refugee crisis could be 'stroke of luck,' ex-president says

Lewis Sanders IV
June 19, 2019

Former President Christian Wulff has warned Germans from entertaining far-right causes. He said the arrival of refugees at the height of the migration crisis could eventually be as momentous as reunification.


Former President Christian Wulff said history may prove that the 2015 refugee crisis was momentous and beneficial for the country, DPA news agency reported Wednesday.

"The chances are great that the refugee influx will become a stroke of luck in German history," Wulff said during a speech Tuesday night, describing German reunification in the 1990s as a similar moment of good fortune.

He said Germany is in a much better condition than many realize. The former president warned against entertaining right-wing extremist causes, saying the line separating patriotism and nationalism should not be blurred.

Read more: German politics: Are immigrants left out?

Christian Wulff
Christian Wulff has supported Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to open Germany's borders to refugees fleeing warImage: picture-alliance/dpa/J. Stratenschulte

Pivotal moment

At the height of the refugee crisis, Wulff had urged EU member states to take in those fleeing from war and extreme poverty, saying: "It shouldn't be a problem for 500 million Europeans to receive 3 million refugees."

In 2015, Germany allowed nearly 900,000 migrants to enter the country under Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy. Many of them were fleeing war and extreme poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Euroskeptic, right-wing and far-right parties have seized on the crisis, with the likes of Hungarian President Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz claiming it undermines the social fabric of the continent.

Georg Pazderski of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party criticized Wulff's remarks, saying on Twitter that the former president had lost touch with reality.

Read more: Follow the money: What are the EU's migration policy priorities?

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